Our season runs from mid-June through the end of September, and like most Alaska fisheries, what we fish for (and how we fish for them) depends largely on the time of the year.
Southwest Alaska (the region which we operate) is known for its incredibly diverse fisheries with an impressive variety of game fish available. Our centralized location within Katmai National Park, along with our ability to fly to nearby fisheries, allows us to take advantage of all of these species during peak times.
Home to Kulik Lodge, the Bristol Bay watershed is regarded as one of the most productive fisheries for native rainbow trout in the world.
We’re really fortunate to be located on the banks of the Kulik River, one of the region’s most popular trout destinations, giving our guests access to world-class trout fishing with virtually no travel time or weather restrictions.
We certainly don’t limit our trout fishing to our home waters, however. Guided fly outs through our own Katmai Air flight service allows our guests to target rainbows across Bristol Bay, within a 100-mile radius from our lodge. That allows us to target trout using a bunch of exciting methods depending on our angler’s interests.
As a resident species, rainbow trout are available throughout the duration of our season, although the methods we use to target them can vary by timing.
The largest and hardest fighting salmon of all, the king salmon (aka chinook), will put your gear (and your ego) to the ultimate test.
At Kulik Lodge, we target kings primarily on the mighty Nushagak River, known for supporting one of the largest runs of king salmon in Alaska. While some anglers use flies, due to the deep holding lies of the “Nush,” the majority of our anglers prefer to use conventional gear when targeting kings.
In our neck of the woods, kings are typically available from approximately mid-June through the first week of July, although run timing is subject to vary from year to year.
The ultimate crowd-pleaser, silver salmon (aka coho) are known for their extreme willingness to take a fly (or lure) and their impressive acrobatic nature. If that wasn’t enough, they also make for excellent table fare for those interested in keeping a few salmon to bring home.
We fish for silvers on several different rivers depending on a number of factors and they are generally available during the months of August and September.
Easily the most underrated game fish in Alaska, chum salmon (aka dog salmon) shock the uninitiated with their aggressive nature and surprising power.
Chums also undergo a unique change in appearance during their spawning run, entering freshwater as uniformly chrome in color only to turn multiple shades of greens, purples, and reds, making them a desired photo opportunity for many of our guests.
Chums are typically available in the waters we frequent as early as mid-July through as late as mid-August.
Considered by many to be the hardest fighting Pacific Salmon (pound for pound), sockeye salmon (aka red salmon) can make for fast paced fun on both fly and/or light tackle conventional gear.
Many anglers agree that sockeye are also the best tasting species of salmon, and although we typically experience sockeye too late in the spawning run to target in our home waters, we do fly to other areas of Bristol Bay for those interested in fishing for fresh (and edible) sockeye. Peak sockeye fishing typically exists from mid-late June through the beginning of August.
Rounding out the fifth species of Pacific salmon native to Alaska, pink salmon (aka humpy) are an exciting addition to the species list for many of our first time guests due to their incredibly unique and ‘prehistoric’ appearance.
The smallest of the Pacific salmon, pinks are known for their lack of apprehension to take a fly and for keeping the rod bent during those rare times in Alaska when you thought you ‘might actually get a break.’
We see pinks in our region from approximately mid-July through mid-August.
Some incredible fishing opportunities for lake trout exist in the numerous lakes and feeder creeks surrounding our lodge, some of which exist quite literally right out our front door.
Like our resident rainbow populations, impressive quantities of lake trout key in on salmon smolt from approximately mid-June through mid-July, allowing anglers to target lakers in shallower water (with fly or light tackle) than is typically possible during warmer months. A similar phenomenon exists during the month of September when lake trout move back into the shallows as they prepare to spawn.
Arctic Char and Dolly Varden
Arguably one of the most picturesque freshwater fish in Alaska (particularly when touting spawning colors), Arctic char and dolly varden are found in many of the rivers and creeks we fish throughout the year.
Differentiated by a few subtle physical characteristics, Arctic char and dolly varden are actually considered two separate species, although often misidentified by anglers. Luckily, both are found throughout our waters, both are in no way reluctant to take a fly or egg imitation, and both are extremely fun to catch.
Acrtic char and dolly varden exhibit several different life histories depending on a number of factors. Some populations are entirely resident (remain in freshwater) while some are anadramous (spend a portion of their life in saltwater). For this reason, its not uncommon to catch Arctic char and/or dollies from June through September at Kulik.
Several of the surrounding lakes in our area support healthy populations of toothy Northern Pike. Tossing large surface flies/poppers or top-water plugs is the norm when targeting these big (up to 40-inches or more) toothy predators, and many anglers find it to be an exciting change of pace during their stay.
Peak pike fishing opportunities at Kulik typically exist from approximately mid-June through mid-July, and often picks back up during the month of September.
A gem of Southwest Alaska, the Arctic grayling is a welcomed addition to the long list of species you’re likely to tussle with during your stay at Kulik. Beautiful, unique, and often hungry for traditional dry flies, grayling are found in many of the rivers and creeks we frequent for trout, char, and more.
As a resident species, grayling are available throughout our season, although opportunities to target using particular methods (such as with dry flies) can vary by timing.